Aokigahara is a forest located at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. It is a beautiful and serene place, sometimes known as the ‘Sea of Trees’ because the view from the mountain is an expansive sea of green vegetation.
Aokigahara also has another, more sinister name – the ‘Suicide Forest.’ Hundreds of people go into the forest and kill themselves. The rate of suicide in Aokigahara is so high that they conduct an annual body search and there are signs posted along forest paths that say “Think of your family, siblings and children” and “Contact the Suicide Prevention Association.” This place is a cemetery without graves or headstones.
Rumor has it a popular book written in 1960 (‘Nami no To’ by Seicho Matsumoto), in which the two main characters kill themselves in the forest, made Aokigahara a magnet for suicides. But the history of suicide in the forest predates the book so this cannot be the only reason people end their lives there. Also, Japan has a long history of suicide – it is one of the top causes of death in the country.
There is a documentary on YouTube about the forest that is completely riveting. I’m posting it here so you can see for yourself what it’s like inside Aokigahara, however some of the images may be disturbing so viewer discretion is advised. In the video there is a scene where they find some items located close together in one part of the forest – a compact mirror, an umbrella, a suicide manual and a noose. Eerie. And sad.
What do you think of Aokigahara?